What comes to mind when you hear the term “state sponsors of terrorism”? Probably nations like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, or Iran.
You wouldn’t expect to see any secular first world nations on the list, but through a bloated welfare state and general government inefficiencies, many nations are unknowingly funding their citizens who decide to take up arms and fight for ISIS.
Such was the case in the UK, and it took a landlord to notice. According to Fox News, a terror recruit took his entire immediate family — including three young children — to join the Islamic State in Syria and may have used government welfare money to bankroll the trip. The family’s former landlady in East London made the discovery, saying she learned the man’s wife received monthly housing benefit payments of about $1,230 that she failed to pass on in rent.
The suspect, 30-year-old Shahan Choudhury, was “brainwashed” by Islamic extremism while awaiting trial for the murder of a 17-year-old hospital worker before he was acquitted in 2007, other members of Choudhury’s family told the newspaper.
That’s a story out today, but it’s hardly an isolated incident unfortunately.A study of 300 Swedish jihadists who left to fight for ISIS in Syria found that nearly every single one received welfare dollars to support themselves abroad. The most common method of obtaining government funds was to get government loans to study abroad (as those are paid in a lump sum, and can’t be canceled once the government catches on).
Another nation known for generous welfare, Denmark, discovered that 36 people (out of about 145) who left to join ISIS received unemployment handouts from the state that total up to 672,000 kroner (about $100,000). National regulations have made it difficult to cease those benefits – even after one is discovered to be fighting for ISIS.
And they’re hardly the only ones. Belgium and France are also on the list of nations that have accidentally paid citizens who left for ISIS taxpayer funded benefits.
Wouldn’t you think that checking whether or not someone is on the dole would be the first thing you check upon discovering that one of your citizens has left to fight for ISIS? Apparently not.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]